Axiom – A statement or idea that people accept as self-evident truth. What follows are three axioms that I consider to be self-evident; clearly atypical thinking.
- Insane – means not rational or not governed by, or showing evidence of clear and sensible thinking and judgement.
The advent of the liberal notion that a person who commits a crime while in a state of insanity is ‘not guilty; by reason of insanity’ is insanity itself. Most people do not show evidence of clear and sensible thinking at some points in their lives, but they are not often excused from the consequences. A more rational position is ‘guilty; but insane’ meaning that we acknowledge that they committed the act, but offer extenuating circumstance. This examination of extenuating circumstances is common practice in a court of law, but to deny the act on the basis of the extenuating circumstances is not. ‘Not guilty by reason of insanity’ has led to ‘diplomatic immunity’ for many individuals who proceed to commit other crimes.
- Mental Illness is a metaphor – meaning that psychological disorders are LIKE an illness, but ARE NOT really an illness.
While the common language of mental illness and its corollary mental health are useful metaphors, they clearly have gotten out of hand. Charles Manson and Richard Speck are considered to be not mentally ill on the simple basis that they knew what they were doing was right or wrong. Yet in law, ignorance is no defense – why then do people who don’t know what they are doing get a free pass? This is not to suggest that such people do not need help, but taking responsibility for one’s own actions is the beginning of getting help. The present construct of mental illness is the equivalent of the concept that the ‘Devil made me do it’. If I am not responsible for my actions, then I can do anything – ergo: diplomatic immunity.
- Psychiatry is not a science and the conjectures of Freud and others are comparable to phrenology, once considered a rational science that could identify personal characteristics by the bumps on ones head; now commonly called quackery.
Psychiatry is not now, nor has it ever been a science. The fact that in present day mental health services a psychiatrist must supervise every ‘mental health’ services is akin to the inmates running the show. The new metaphor ‘behavioral health’ reflects the conflict. We understand that it is behavior that defines atypical human beings, but we add ‘health’ to imply they need a doctor. This is somewhat typical of the thinking that imbues everything with psychiatric self-serving terminology in order to buttress their power and authority. We often hear the term ‘psychiatric disability’ used to describe a person with a psychological disturbance. But, of course, ‘psychiatric disability’ means you have a disabled psychiatrist.
There is no rational basis for biological psychiatry (chemical imbalance) as the experience of fear and adrenalin as well as meditation and biofeedback demonstrate that chemicals in the brain are controllable by thought. Think for yourself (I know, it is difficult), does your fear cause your adrenalin to rise, or does the adrenalin cause your fear? Most people would call this a ‘no brainer’. But what this common experience implies is that your thought-emotion (fear) causes changes in the body’s chemistry. This implication has been thoroughly documented by scientific studies of meditation and biofeedback. So does serotonin cause schizophrenia or does schizophrenia cause the serotonin?
- The true science of human behavior is the study of cognitive behavioral psychology.
Actually, the term cognitive behavior is redundant as cognition (thinking) is a behavior. The cognitive aspects of human behavior go back at least to 500 B.C. and the Buddha – and by the way, have not really been improved upon until very recently. The behavioral aspects, based, as they were on animal studies overlooked the mediating aspects of thinking on behavior and therefore became a little mechanistic and scary – thus the use of the redundancy. While stimulus-response is still valid, we have come to recognize that stimulus – thought – response more realistically describes human behavior. I am walking through a jungle and see a flash of orange (stimulus) and I think tiger (mediator) and in panic seek to run away (emotion generated action). Same scenario, I see a flash of orange (stimulus) and I think Buddhist monk (mediator) and seek him out (emotion generated action).
There is still a stimulus – response mechanism at work, but again personal responsibility is interjected. Clearly, an individual can make a mistake based upon his or her own sensory experiences. But it is much different to push someone away because you think s/he is the Devil and they fall and are killed, than to believe that the Devil is telling you to kill others and you decide, for whatever reason, to obey the Devil.
But these basics also indicate another important concern. The interventions used with people who behave in atypical ways, is counterproductive. We tell these people that the Devil made them act inappropriately and give the drugs to subdue the Devil. We strip away self-responsibility and hope, the two major factors that may lead them to new ways of thinking about themselves, others and future prospects.
Maybe we should rethink our systems of working with people with “problems in living”1!